10 Tips on Reducing Water Usage

Categories: green living | 2 Comments

Nashville is under a mandatory water conservation after the floods.  They only have 1 functioning water treatment plant (normally 2), and it can only generate 3/4 of the city’s typical needs when running at maximum power.  I thought I’d pass along a few tips to reducing your water usage.  Some of these we implement every day; some we learned during the whole sewer line fiasco.  And a few our new ones we discovered during this time.

1. Navy showers. Turn the water on to get wet. Turn it off to suds up.  Turn it back on to rinse. You can get away with very little water and still get clean, which is essential if you’ve been helping your friend clean her ruined house.

2. Train your hair to get washed every other day.   Believe it or not, you can teach your scalp to not produce as much oil.  The first week or so, your hair is pretty icky on the non-washing days, but then it gets use to it.  The key is to not get your hair wet in between.

3. Don’t run the shower full blast while you’re waiting for the water to get warm. It might take a little while for the little trickle to warm up, but that water is just fine for brushing teeth or filling water pitchers.

4. Bathe in succession.  I take my shower. Chris takes his shower. Cecilia gets her bath (in minimal water).  That way the water has already been heated up, and we don’t have to waste more waiting for it to heat up again.

5. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.  A commonly loved saying by many conservationists.  For me, it’s a hard one to overcome because my parents would charge me a dime every time they found an unflushed toilet when I was a child.  However, given the mandate, I think it’s okay to defy them.

6. Reuse cooking water.  If you cook noodles for lunch, reuse to water to cook your potatoes for dinner.  Starchy water is starchy water. Or save the water you used to rinse your fruit to water your plants or wash your dishes.

7. Collect rain in a rain barrel for watering plants.

8. Use hand sanitizer instead of washing your hands.  I’m a big advocate of washing hands. Don’t get me wrong.  But when you have a toddler, 3 dogs, and 4 cats around.  There’s lots of hand washing.  Sometimes substituting hand sanitizer (with alcohol) is okay.

9. Run very full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.  I line dry my clothes so I don’t have to worry about overpacking the dryer.

10. Hand wash big pots and pan by filling your sink with little water.  It’s amazing how much space large items can take up in the dishwasher.  I usually stick them in there because I’m lazy, but when I can only run the dishwasher every few days, I’d rather stick three bowls in than one pan.  Especially if hand washing the pan takes very little time and effort.  Make sure you save up the big items and wash them all at once though.  Don’t wash them individually, and fill that basin.  It’s surprising how much water is wasted by doing it one at a time.